New golf contract could net extra revenue for S.F. Rec and Park Department

S.F. Examiner File PhotoGreen fees to real green: A proposed Golden Gate Park Golf Course contract provides an incentive to raise revenue.

A new management contract with the Golden Gate Park Golf Course could generate more than $400,000 annually for The City within five years.

On Thursday, the Recreation and Park Department’s operations committee recommended that the agency enter a five-year contract with the nonprofit First Tee to manage operations at the nine-hole course.

Under terms of the deal, First Tee — which has set up a separate entity called the Golden Gate Park Golf Foundation — would pay annual rent of $225,000. Rec and Park also would receive 100 percent of green fees revenue above $350,000 and a 50 percent cut if the fees top $500,000 annually.

In the first year of the contract, Rec and Park estimates that the extra green fees will generate $35,000, but by the fifth year that total could reach $187,500. With the $225,000 rental fee, total revenue is projected to reach $412,500.

The contract would be extended two more years if First Tee invests at least $150,000 into capital improvements for the park. All revenue from the course would be funneled into Rec and Park’s general fund.

The new contract is an improvement from the prior pact at the course, said Rec and Park’s Nick Kinsey. Before, the department paid a flat maintenance fee to an outside vendor, which provided little incentive to attract more golfers,  Kinsey said. With the new contract being a leasing permit, there will be greater motivation for First Tee to attract more patrons.

Local golfers have expressed concern that First Tee — which caters to beginning golfers — will implement new schedules that could drive away course regulars. Kinsey said stipulations of the contract will ensure regular golfers still have plenty of opportunities to play.

The full Recreation and Park Commission will vote on the new contract Sept. 20. If approved, the Board of Supervisors also would have to vote on it. If both groups authorize the contract, First Tee will take over the course in November.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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